An election should be an occasion that affords voters the right to freely and fairly choose their representatives. As long as an election is marred by gross irregularities, it undermines the will of the people and in the process, it becomes a direct attack on the concept of democracy.
We would like to applaud the judiciary in Kenya for being bold and independent enough to come up with this kind of ruling in a very high profile and politically sensitive case. Many a time, here in Zimbabwe, the people have been denied the opportunity to freely and fairly choose a government of their choice. The people of Zimbabwe will remember that the 2002 MDC Presidential election petition is still pending, more than 15 years after it was filed in the courts of law. This is a classic example of the bastardisation of the rule of law in Zimbabwe.
The ruling by the Supreme Court in Kenya is historic and ground – breaking. It gives a refreshing feeling that Africa is indeed rising. Gone are the days when the judiciary should pander to the whims and fantasies of powerful political forces; particularly those forces that are found amongst the ruling elite. Going forward, we hope and trust that the IEBC in Kenya shall be able to conduct a Presidential election re–run whose result will be credible and legitimate; absolutely free from any reasonable contestation.
As Zimbabwe approaches the harmonised elections in 2018, we call upon ZEC to fearlessly and resolutely exercise its constitutional mandate to run a free and fair election. ZEC should flex its muscles and make it unambiguously clear that it shall not tolerate or countenance any electoral malfeasance from any quarter. In that way, ZEC would be able to gain the confidence of the majority of Zimbabweans many of whom are still not entirely convinced about the independence of our electoral management body. Put differently, ZEC has to work extremely hard in order to gain the confidence and trust of the voting public.
Zimbabweans are a peace – loving people who always endeavour to peaceful ways of resolving their political conflicts. Our judiciary should take a leaf from the ruling of the Kenyan Supreme Court and appreciate that there is absolute honour and integrity in resolutely resisting improper external pressures when handling court cases; particularly those cases that are politically sensitive. A corrupt, biased and incompetent judiciary is the catalyst to a dictatorship.
The MDC would like to wish the people of Kenya a free and fair Presidential election re–run in the next two months. Voters should have confidence and trust in not only the electoral processes but also in the eventual outcome of an election. A rigged election can easily trigger political instability and socio–economic turbulence.
MDC: Equal Opportunities for All
Obert Chaurura Gutu
MDC National Spokesperson